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CD Reviews (11504)

Find full CD and individual track reviews of your favorite jazz artists right here, and hopefully you also discover some new artists to add to your collection as well.

Big City Circus is one of those recordings that defies expectations in more ways than one. Looking at the bass-less trio instrumentation, I assumed this CD was going to be dominated by free-ish or avant-garde type sounds. This turned out not to be the case. Yennoir, best known for his work with Boston's great little big band, The Either/Orchestra, and his trio – while certainly on the quirky side – essentially maintain a reserved, swinging sound throughout “Big City Circus.” Yennoir's sound on t
The first thing I thought when listening to “5000 Poems” the new recording from trombonist / composer Steve Swell and his 'Slammin' the Infinite' band was: “...good old Free Jazz!” This disc instantly transported me back to the late 1960s, when free jazz was really 'The New Thing,' and was really new - fresh and unencumbered by several decades worth of uninformed media baggage. 'Not Their Kind' opens “5000 Poems” with trombone and saxophone essaying a brief theme in a rush of splashy drums and C
As we enter the second decade of the 21st Century, Rich Halley has flourished into one of the world's very finest jazz tenor saxophonists. Live at the Penofin Jazz Festival is Halley's 11th as a leader, and his second with former Ornette sideman Bobby Bradford. The ace cornetist is a logical choice as a front-line partner – his cool, concise playing contrasts sharply with Halley's heated, note-intensive offerings. And though Halley's sound and approach to the horn clearly comes from the John Col
The seemingly endless parade of very worthwhile jazz recordings by artists I've never heard of continues with the Britton Brothers' debut CD, Uncertain Living. Ben and John Britton play the saxophone and trumpet, respectively, and have made a name for themselves in academic jazz circles while remaining relatively unknown to the jazz-listening public at large. “Uncertain Living” shows that the Brittons and their band are clearly ready for prime time – the playing here is marvelous and the writing
Guitarist and composer John Czajkowski's latest recording,“West ZooOpolis,” is one of the most unlikely projects I've encountered in quite some time. Equal parts progressive rock and jazz-rock fusion, and some other sort of undefined musical sub-genre, “West ZooOpolis” was conceived as a musical overlay to a 52-minute long, pre-recorded drum solo created by German drum virtuoso Marco Minnemann. For those of you who aren't familiar with Minnemann, he is possibly one of the greatest technical drum
Connecticut native Mike DiRubbo has made a name for himself as a featured saxophonist in New York-based groups led by trombonist Steve Davis, pianist David Hazeltine and many others. His sixth release as a leader, Chronos (Posi-Tone), is a hard-blowing, straight-ahead affair with organist Brian Charette and drummer Rudy Royston. The disc features nine original compositions by DiRubbo and Charette, ranging from up-tempo burners and bouncy waltzes, to modal workouts and Latin-inspired grooves. Pri
Drummer/percussionist/composer/arranger and musical director Fidel Morales re-releasing of his 2005 masterpiece album Salsa Son Timba is a good news for all salsa and cuban music fans. Fidel recorded this album in Cuba with some of the best musicians from this caribbean island, including timbal player legend Amadito Valdes.Besides being a master drummer and percussionist, Fidel is a creative arranger and composer. Fidel wrote or co-wrote five of the eight songs on this album, each one with inven
Reedman and composer Ken Thomson is one busy dude. Besides his steady gigs with the edgy avant-jazz-rock group Gutbucket and the avant-garde marching band The Asphalt Orchestra and his affiliation with the Bang On A Can project, he's also a member of the World/Inferno Friendship Society, Brad Lubman's 'Signal,' Fire in July, the No Net Trio, and is a co-founder of the Anti-Social Music collective. And that's just a partial list! 'Slow / Fast' is Thomson's latest project, and composing, arranging
Broken Doll Beat is the second album from The Rongetz Foundation, a music project of composer, arranger and trumpet player Stephane Ronget. Almost all the musicians changed for this album, except Stephane and Jeremy Brun on piano and Rhodes. Stephane reunited a group of excellent musicians. David Schnitter on sax, Carlos Jimenez on flute and Jeremy on piano, all of them playing highly energetic improvisations. The solo ideas flow effortless from each of these amazing musicians challenging each o
Guitarist Russel Malone has maintained a prolific balance over the last couple of decades as both a leader and sideman to jazz luminaries, such as Diana Krall, Harry Connick, Jr. and Sonny Rollins. It comes as a surprise to realize that his ninth solo release Triple Play is his first trio project. With the stripped down line up of bassist David Wong and drummer Montez Coleman, Malone finds himself fully exposed without the cushion of a piano or organ. With a choice selection of standards and ori
New York-based guitarist Chris Crocco displays flowing improvisational lines with horn-like character. It's not that the Virginia native completely eschews the traditions of jazz guitar, but a thorough listen to his latest disc reveals a forward-thinking approach, void of typical blues riffs, octave slides and other predictable tricks associated with his instrument. Dubbed the Fluid Trio +, Crocco recruits bassist Peter Slavov, drummer Francisco Mela and veterans saxophonist/educator George Garz
The fourth in a series of loosely-structured, jam session recordings for the Canadian-based Alma Records, One Take: Volume Four features Hammond organ giant Joey DeFrancesco with a trio of veteran Toronto jazz musicians performing a cozy set of straight-ahead standard fare. Fronting the session is saxophonist Phil Dwyer who displays a robust tenor tone and performs with swinging lyricism through "There is No Greater Love" and "Tenderly." A somewhat unusual twist to the seemingly predictable proc
Indiana native Lutalo Sweet Lu Olutosin debut album Tribute to Greatness is a nice collection of songs that reflects and pay homage to his influences that includes gospel, soul and jazz music. Lutalo song selection is interesting with some music not often recorded like "Four", "On the red clay" and "All Blues".Lutalo has a deep, soulful voice with a recognizable influence of singer Al Jarreau. You may hear Jarreau influence in the first song, "I bet you thought I'd never find you", even the way
Pianist Jacky Terrasson is a painter on the keyboard, and this can be heard in the jazz portraits created in his new release Push. Since the early nineties, European born Terrasson has been lauded as a bright new star. His eponymous debut on Blue Note in 1995 predicted a successful career in the United States and worldwide. From the beginning, Terrasson has displayed power, passion and creativity to spare. As well, he is a talented arranger, as witnessed by his unique take on well-known tunes. H
An electric guitar is not the first instrument that comes to mind when someone thinks about Latin music, but the idea is not new. Carlos Santana did it in the 70's fusing Rock with his Latin heritage. The difference is that John fuses jazz and Latin music playing the electric guitar.A native of Walla Walla, Washington, John is an experienced guitar player. It was his experience in the 70s of teaching English in Latin America that influenced his music to this day. And, you may hear that influence
Remember how bassist Oscar Pettiford would take huge breaths between notes while soloing? This bad brother seemingly envisioned his instrument, his…self, as a horn, so you could hear him inhale before his fingers would pluck out a low-end exhale-ation.Pettiford came to mind while listening to guitarist Tom Rizzo’s debut album, Imaginary Numbers (Origin). With active accompaniment from a five-piece horn section and full rhythm section, Rizzo’s role here features his guitar in collaboration with
There are rare instances in any art expression when all the elements gets together to create a piece of art that borders on perfection. When a good painter or sculptor get that moment of inspiration or when a good script, director and actors coincide in the creation of a movie classic.John Beasley Grammy nominated album Positootly is a good example of what happens when masters instrumentalists, the kind of instrumentalists you rarely find outside of Jazz, gets together. This is what Jazz is all
Now into his early seventies, Charles Lloyd finds himself fronting one of the hottest jazz quartets currently working the circuit, and with Mirror has produced one of the most highly rated albums of the year.Combining material from several influential sources throughout his career, Lloyd and his band give equal weight and respect on this CD to material from Thelonious Monk, Brian Wilson and Sammy Cahn. There's also a heavy gospel and spiritual influence at work, with some Lloyd originals making
Well, let’s see. There’s this disc entitled Standard Transmission (Origin). There’s this cat, Bruce Williamson, playing reeds and backed by a rhythm section...and, we have the great, time-tested standards by Rodgers and Hart, Ray Noble and Monk, among others. This ought to be rather routine, so then, let’s press “Play.”This first track, Rodgers and Hart’s “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” features Williamson’s energetic alto saxophone playing, while his overdubbed bass clarinet provides inter
Brazilian Jovino Santos Neto allows us to glimpse the contemplative side of the piano maestro on his latest double-CD of duets, Veja O Som (See The Sound), featuring 20 tracks recorded in both the U.S. and in Brazil. However, the samba, so close to JSN’s heart, provides the rhythmic pulse on the album. The sheer number of talented guests is exhaustive, and any real devotee of jazz would be remiss not to check it out. Monica Salmaso, Joyce Mareno, Paquito D’Rivera, David Sanchez, Bill Frisell, Ai